Every woman reading this post has been punished simply for being in close proximity to a disagreement between two men, and the need for the man with least power to over-assert what little power he has.
What happened to Charge Nurse Alex Wubbel of the Burn Ward at the University of Utah Hospital is criminal – and Detective Jeff Payne of the Salt Lake City Police Department should be charged and face the consequences of his actions.
Detective Payne arrested Nurse Wubbel when she refused to allow him to illegally draw blood from the unconscious victim of a fiery head-on crash that happened when a police chase ended with the suspect smashing head-on into the victim’s semi-truck in Logan, Utah. An Officer of the Peace, Payne has also been trained as a phlebotomist, and should have known he was trying to break law. Speculation online is that the police were trying to dodge responsibility for the chase and crash by hoping the victim had drugs or alcohol in system.
Hospital policy is based on Constitutional law and was developed in conjunction with the Salt Lake City PD, and does not allow for collection of blood without patient’s consent (you cannot give consent if you are unconscious), without a warrant, or unless the patient has been charged with a crime.
Not to Detective Payne and his Enormous Ego.
The 20 minute unedited body cam footage infuriated me (link below with time notes to specific actions). Actual fury enough at the abuse of power and misogyny to spend 5 hours on a stunning Friday afternoon on Labor Day Weekend writing this piece, and another 2 hours editing and pulling screen shots.
It should infuriate you, too, that 2 Salt Lake City Police Department officers had so little regard for the Constitution that they sought to punish a citizen who was defending it. These men, who are charged to uphold the law, thought the best way to protect and serve was to arrest the Charge Nurse of the Burn Unit when she sought to protect her patient.
Payne alleges Lt. James Tracey, the Watch Commander, advised him to arrest Wubbel. This allegation needs to be investigated, and if found true Tracey should be demoted to the lowest pay grade for instructing Payne to violate the 4th Amendment.
As if the arrest weren’t bad enough, Payne’s partner tried to Gaslight Wubbels into violating her oath as a nurse, and manipulate her into breaking the law. His partner’s ‘Good Cop’ routine is positively sickening to watch, the worst part being when he says sincerely that if the blood draw is illegal it’ll get thrown out in court. Like THAT makes it okay!
The story is shockingly egregious and captured on video, yet Payne and his partner remain on active duty. What? You’re surprised that people who abuse their power are rewarded?
What made me shake my head and purse my mouth in disgusted recognition was exactly *when* Payne loses his shit: Pay attention to genders here.
Officer Power Trip is ignoring what Wubbel is saying or trying to show him: The printed policy prohibiting blood draws without consent, a warrant or an arrest that the SLCPD helped draft.
Wubbel has the paperwork in one hand and her phone in the other, where her boss, Brad, is on the speaker.
“He’s told me repeatedly he has no warrant and the patient is not under arrest,” Wubbel says into her phone,” I’m just trying to do what I’m supposed to do – that’s all.”
“So, I take it without those in place,” Payne says angrily, dismissively waving his hand over the notion of warrants and consent, “I’m not going to get blood? Am I fair to surmise that?”
“You don’t have the authority… You’re not a representative of your department,” Brad reminds Payne through the speaker, “You’re an employee… Why are you blaming the messenger, Sir?”
“She’s the one that has told me ‘No’,” Payne says flatly.
And there you have it.
“She’s the one that has told me ‘No’.
That Brad *literally* just told Payne ‘No’ he cannot collect blood seems lost on Payne, who also ignores being told by a man with more authority than him that he has no representative agency, nor the authority to take any actions.
Hearing all this Payne inexplicably contends, “She’s the one that has told me No”.
‘She’s the one that has told me No’ is the all-purpose excuse for modern gynophobes and misogynists everywhere.
The Constitution and consequences be damned – She had the temerity to say No to ME, a Man! So, She deserves whatever happened next.
She had it coming.
Ever thus it was.
“Sir, you’re making a huge mistake right now…’ you can hear Brad warning Payne, “You’re making a huge mistake because you’re threatening a Nurse.”
It’s more than Payne can take and he suddenly snaps, quickly trying to snatch the phone from Wubbel’s hand – she recoils, blinking in disbelief.
Payne tries to grab the phone again, and Wubbel takes a step back, avoiding him.
“We’re done. We’re done here,” Payne says in blooming anger, lunging for Wubbel’s phone as she continues to back up. Arms rigid in fury, fists clenched, Payne stomps up to Wubbel and assaults her, dragging the screaming woman away to be arrested.
He has her against a pole as he roughly handcuffs her, and she sobs, “I didn’t do anything wrong! This is crazy!”
Hands cuffed behind her back, Wubbel is roughly forced over to the cruiser, while she protests, “You’re hurting me!”
A second by second examination of the events shows a Law Enforcement Officer flouting the law, enraged at not getting his demands met. This man who is paid to uphold the law – a man who has a gun strapped to his waist and the ability to arrest people at will – openly abused his power because his authority was not just questioned, but rightly denied.
It was no accident that Detective Payne chose the woman to punish for his impotence, even though he was angry at her boss and the law. The only way Payne would have only gotten a bigger thrill out of abusing his power is if it was a woman of color he could have unlawfully arrested.
It’s shameful that once Wubbel was in custody Payne’s partner didn’t try to stop the unnecessary force, but instead tried to manipulate her with the Good Cop act, reasoning that if it turns out she *did* break the law with the blood draw the evidence would be thrown out, and it wouldn’t count as violating her patient’s privacy. Payne stands over her, arms crossed, glowering
The final indignity of the tape isn’t Payne pompously explaining why the law doesn’t apply to him to the shocked, yet undetained, Male Hospital Administrator who had been standing next to Wubbel during her arrest. Using his hand expressively, Payne opined that the hospital was getting in his way of his illegal quest for a blood sample.
“I understand what your policies are – Okay? I’m trying to tell you what I NEED legally. Okay? There’s a very BAD. HABIT. up here of your policy interfering with MY law. Okay?”
The final indignity comes as Payne lounges against the cruiser, his left hand resting on the billy club strapped to his waist, while Wubbel sits inside with her head bowed. Payne tells the Male Hospital Assistant in a we-fellows-can-be-reasonable-but-I’m-in-charge kind of way, that even if their jobs are at odds he appreciates the job the MHA has to do. Then, without a trace of irony, he says with a sniff and a sigh that spoke of the heavy burden of men abusing their power against women everywhere, “So… I gotta decide what we’re gonna do with this young lady”.
This young lady.
This caricature of every insecure man everywhere derisively refered to the Charge Nurse of the Burn Unit at the finest hospital between Denver and Los Angeles as ‘This young lady”. He acted as if the MHA were her parent and Wubbel were a tween in handcuffs for shoplifting at Forever 21, instead of treating her like an educated professional of unquestionable integrity who dedicated her life to burn patients.
Alex Wubbel is a Patriot in the highest sense of the word, in that she was willing to stand up for the law and what was right, and stand up against tyranny and abuse of power. She has more courage than Jeff Payne will ever have in this lifetime or any other, and he isn’t fit to wash her socks.
Young lady, indeed.
A final thought on what happened to Alex Wubbel: We have become so inured to violence against women and false arrest from the Jeff Paynes of this world, that few people dare to make a peep or speak truth to power – even when they know they’re right. Look at how many police and guards and administrators stood silently as Alex Wubbel begged, “Somebody help me!”
What does that say about us – the USA – that most people fear that the long eye of The Law might gaze upon them and thus encourage the long arm to do a little attitude adjustment.
Link to 20 minute unedited body cam videa of Nurse Alex Wubbel’s arrest:
The broken link has been fixed – thank you to those who brought it to my attention
Payne’s escalation and Wubbel’s arrest is between 5:30 to 8:30 on the tape
Wubbel’s gaslighting by Payne’s partner runs 10:00 to 15:00 on the tape
Final Indingnity: 15:00 to 16:30